Finally decided to stop at a local pub. It was
such a small town but it had been several hours of riding. As
I asked for a beer, the bartender inquired about my camera. I
was holding my dad’s old Pentax and quickly gave a short
response about buying it at an antiques place along the road.
Like any bartender on a slow night, he immediately shared with
me his own photography fetish and proceeded to tell me several
stories about local townsfolk. Tired as I was, most of his words
vanished quickly into oblivion. That is, until he started telling
me about Tomas. He was the local pharmacist who had apparently
gone crazy recently and started carrying a black umbrella everywhere
he went. Rain or shine, morning or evening. The umbrella on the
chair next to him while eating; holding it in his hands while
attending church, placing it on his lap while having a beer at
the local pub. He apparently had a tendency to go by the train
station and walk for miles on the railroad with his open umbrella.
I knew I should have left the bar at that moment.
I should have just finished my beer and gotten on my bike to continue
my quest. However, I found myself following the directions from
the barman to the local drugstore. Tomas worked there as a pharmacist.
He was one of those individuals who would always have a pleasant
smile to all customers. Warm, compassionate, average. One of those
characters you appreciate being there –behind the counter,
but would not otherwise miss if they were gone. I noticed the
umbrella as soon as I reached the counter. It was neatly placed
on a table. As he came back and handed me the antidepressants,
I caught a glance of the bracelet in his hands. Three colors:
red, blue, yellow. The number 13 in the middle. It all dawned
on me in half a second: Sophia. The same one I was looking for.
Sophia. The storm that entered my life a year ago.
I saw her for the first time on a rainy day. I
was sitting on a bench as she walked down the street. Our eyes
met, amazed at finding someone else crazy enough to peacefully
stand outside in such stormy weather. We looked at each other
for the longest time. No words. No movements. She finally sat
by me and asked my name. While having coffee at her place, she
asked questions like what was my favorite number and how long
had I been a photographer. However, she refused to reveal much
about herself. This was fine with me; I was mesmerized with her
beauty. I was lost in her bright black eyes, hypnotized by the
tone of her skin, numb with the view of her petite waist in jeans.
Then, she kissed me. Sophia kisses like water. She is liquid.
A fiery storm dampening your every sense. An intense cascade washing
away your prejudices. The fearless sea teaching you how to sin.
Sophia. Liquid that would become your every desire. She is the
never-ending river you wish to embark on.
I saw the number in Tomas’ bracelet. Thirteen.
I knew immediately that thirteen was his favorite number. I also
knew that she had spent thirteen days with him. Turning his world
upside down to later disappear completely. Unable to regain peace,
he then holds onto that umbrella at all times. The best -and only-
thing he has to remember the storm that also entered his life.
Thirteen days with Sophia are more than enough to madden anybody.
I also have a bracelet. My favorite number is
forty-six. Sophia kisses like water. I spent forty-six days of
liquid paradise with her. The best forty-six moons of my entire
life. I have been looking for her since she left me…
Sophia kisses like water.
Story's fragment written by: Ivan Segura
this Artist's Bio
By Marcelo Novo
-Colored Pencil, 6x4 inches-
this Artist's Bio
Love is but
a tender kiss. With unrelenting passion, it suffuses through the
soul and quickens it, stirring it into life. That was my fortune,
my destiny in meeting Sophia: to love her for forty-six days and,
nights; a destination undefined, but carried by my adoration for
her being. Or was it lust, not love that manipulates me in search
of her? How could I have lost her loving tenderness? My tears
begin to flow, smothering my cheeks, I choke with anguish. There
is no reprieve, only everlasting loneliness. Endlessly, I search
for her in every passer-by, on every sidewalk, in every place
traversed and dwelled, and yet I find her not: a void, an empty
space - she is now gone, faded like an evening breeze languishing
on a summer’s day.
Now, I understand Tomas, his torment, his affliction, his desolation;
his search for respite and direction on a rail: a quest for meaning,
walking straight to no where with only his umbrella as his hope
and insulation. Tomas, a man of science, a pharmacist with understanding
of compounds, forfeiting his rationality, lost in a world of uncertainty,
plagued by Sophia’s memory. I understand his agony, his
loss, for it is mine also - forty-six days of love, and bondage
to a life of memory. Sophia with a siren’s face and voice,
and elegant satin form, and hands of velvet rose, calls out to
me. Sophia, like a breath of life, causes me to want for love,
a kiss, an amorous embrace. I understand Tomas, his torment, seeking
refuge in his umbrella.
There is a darkness in my head, a vapor in my midst, a mist surrounding
me. It seems surreal, ethereal, and yet so real. Sophia. I see
her with mine eyes, scent her with my nose, and hear her voice.
She calls to me . . . I touch her with my fingertips, Sophia,
Sophia. I sense her tender kiss, her warm embrace, her regal splendor.
I feel her warmth, her sigh, her loving lips. She smiles at me,
and I surrender. I know Sophia is here. Suddenly, the clouds of
mist subside, swooning from the darkness into light. I see her
fade, recede, like a mirage undone, I’m loosing her. I yell,
“Sophia, Sophia,” but the mist diminishes with her.
I now realize that this is but a dream . . . and agony begins
anew. “I’ve lost Sophia. I’ve lost Sophia. Where
is my wondrous Sophia?
Now that she’s gone, I walk alone once more. I travel on
a lonely road, estranged from all that’s dear. In many ways,
I am Tomas, bereaved by the great loss sustained, but I will vow
to search - searching for Sophia. My pain refuses to desist, and
I realize that nothing will be altered in the morrow. But I search
on. In discontent, I walk the city streets, crying out, crying
out, crying for Sophia.
fragment written by: Lad Santiago
this Artist's Bio
There She Is!!!
By Cristian Diaz
-Pencil Sketch on Paper-
this Artist's Bio
As I continue
to search for Sophia, one question remains in my mind. Sophia,
why do you devour every single male that crosses you? Knowing
my pain and after seeing Tomas, I wonder if your heart has been
broken as ours have... Someone from your hometown must have broken
your heart, must have killed your soul. This is why you migrate
from your small town looking for revenge in every man that has
the fortune and disgrace to cross you. No one with a true soul
could do the things you do.
In my mad quest to research your life, I have found that your
beauty has always been a problem for you. Since your younger days,
women have hated you and men have always felt an insane passion
to posses you. Such ambivalence is a big dilemma for a young girl
with no guidance of a family. Where was your family? Why does
nobody know of your ancestors? Are you real? Were we real? Maybe
you are a Greek Goddess that comes from nowhere or maybe you are
a mermaid that emerged from the deepest sea. Being a mermaid best
suits you because… Sophia you kiss like water. As I recall
from your kisses, I recall the feeling of drowning in your passion.
With every kiss you saved me, but also killed me in the end.
following your steps and every time I think I've reached you,
I lose you. Just as I lose water in my hands. Like water you can't
hold. For years I've been looking for you. I have had no work,
surviving only on money that I have made selling my photographs
in every small town that I've searched for you, for your beauty…
for your love. Will I ever find it?
So far, all
I have found are thirteen different men that all show the same
madness as me. That madness is you Sophia. The only difference
is the amount of time each of them spend with you. Sadly enough,
that time depends on our favorite number. One man I found had
a bracelet with the 365 engrave on it! I thought to myself, how
lucky he was to have spent 365 days with you!! Why I didn't tell
you that my favorite number was infinity? If I had done so, I
could have had you until death took either of us. That thought
is driving me crazy.
As my search
for you continues, so does time. They say time heals all wounds
and I wish I could agree. I am living sleepless nights and a fierce
anger with every man that has loved you. Your body is sacred to
me… My madness rises every time I imagine someone touching
your beautiful body that was once mine… mine!! Your body…
your perfect and sexy body that I captured with my dad's old Pentax.
Those photos were my treasure. Two years ago, as I slept in a
small cottage on the beach, my treasure was stolen from me. Just
as you vanished, so did your photos.
it has been three years since I last held you, I still remember
our bedroom in that small hotel in the mountains. It was a rainy
day and you told me that you needed to walk in the rain…
that you have to be alone to feel the cool water run down your
body. I respected your feelings and let you walk alone with no
thought to the fact that it was our forty-sixth day of liquid
passion. How was I to know that this would be the last day you
would allow me to love you? After you vanished, with a premonition
that something was wrong, I still waited for you for three long
days. For three days and very long nights, I waited for your fiery
love, for your liquid kisses, that once fed every cell of my body
and had cured every wound caused by my past lovers. With you I
was in paradise… now I'm living my own hell.
kissed me like water.
fragment written by: Itsia Vanegas
this Artist's Bio
Photography by Manuel Gaetan
this Artist's Bio
much of this is true?”
The room filled
up again with that rancid silence that sinks in the back of your
mouth. It was his house, the house of one that had long forgotten
how to move forward with time. Amongst that overwhelming disarray
of things, two things quickly caught her attention: a bicycle,
half way broken and leaning against a bookshelf, and a black umbrella,
resting in an awkward horizontal balance, its handle hooked to
the bicycle’s, its bottom tip just reaching the bike’s
seat. Both of them invisible until then, imperceptible in front
of her eyes until she found that written reference that made them
recipients of some absurd sense. Without dwelling to much in the
thought, she thought of how reality is invented by the second,
following the whimsical shift of value we give to the things that
much of this is true” not spoken this time but echoed in
her head. Everything seemed to evolve slower in the frame of this
very much unexpected scene: it took her half an eternity to lay
down on the coffee table, next to a handful of bracelets, that
little notebook from which she had been reading just a moment
ago. Her husband was on the other side of that immense window
facing the street. In the car, waiting, attentive, ready, just
a few feet away but a world apart from what was taking place then
it bothers me to tell you” – said between clinging
teeth that tried not to let out something resembling a grin- “but,
on the other hand it causes me this silly pleasure”- her
voice a little shaky, the words cautiously separated – “What
got to you? Was… was it watching “love in the time
of cholera”, or whatever the title is?”
are you saying?” leaning against the back of the couch,
hands resting in the inside of his thighs, legs half way stretched,
gazing out the huge window. What are you saying, words spoken
out too easily, too monotone, too comfortably, almost as if they
had been rehearsed.
these diaries are fantasy filled. That you act as a child. That…
that is what I am saying.”
were the one who said that the past is the only thing that really
belongs to us” – he interrupted her, not raising his
voice, but with a firmness that had long not colored his speech.
“The only thing on which we exert actual control”
I said so, but that doesn’t make it true. It’s obvious
you choose what to believe.” She held her breath in, exhaled
slowly and using the last puff she said with sadness: “this
is something else”. With her voice and gesture she emphasized
“this” like it held a secret, or better yet, the key
to the secret.
It had been
a strange conversation, inhabited more by silences than by words.
A conversation taken up by reflections, brief journeys to a past
that in principle should have been the same. Certainty had abandoned
both of them.
From the corner
of her eye, without really trying to do so, she got a look at
the big digital clock on the kitchen counter. Blinking the seconds
away, flickering their lives away. The recollection of having
been there before, of having seen a clock and feeling suffocated
with the rapid onward motion of time going nowhere… all
of these together seized her and she was reminded of her courage
to take charge of life. If asked how, she would not have known,
but she realized then she would have no regrets whatsoever of
having come, of giving consent to help that man’s family.
Julio, don’t you think I easily forget the way things were,
the things that happened, your treating me like your possession.
Don’t believe that this stupid obsession of yours, stalking
me…” She paused for air. “Don’t you think
I can…” She paused for words but did not find them.
“Look, don’t expect sympathy. You are a victim of
don’t you dare to think you know what I think or want. Don’t
you dare to try to think for me! Look where it has taken you already.
Open your eyes, Julio, wide open, and look back. That story you
recall is not mine, I’m sorry. My story with you…
I kiss like water, and you wanted to make of us a puddle. Yes
a puddle… Hold back the water. You can’t fence the
herself. “No Julio, no. That’s not my story and you
don’t make yourself a service by denying it. My story is
Story's fragment written by Santiago Sandi
this Artist's Bio
Tattoo Designed by Andrei Salamanca
Color Markers on Skin
this Artist's Bio
Everything was so confusing,
your face, your look, your smile...
everything told me you loved me
but your actions were so sad.
You had my heart, and you knew it,
that was the reason you played;
everything you wanted I used to do it,
no matter what you will ask.
My first love, my first kiss, my first everything
all that made me who I am today.
All that love now is nothing,
and I can't find no escape.
My days pass with different faces,
different arms hug me now,
but when I think what I am feeling is love
I know is time to run again.
That is the way I survived
to all the pain you made me,
this is a never end history.
I have your stamp in my body,
725, the days you made me happy
until you decided to leave.
You started this game...and I learned it,
now it is time for me to have fun.
Poem by Tatiana Diaz
this Artist's Bio
Photo Montage by Mauricio Ottich
this Artist's Bio
was looking out the window when I saw you, walking slowly down
the street. When you looked at me and gave me that sad smile,
somehow I knew you were one more, but not like the rest. Even
exhausted and frustrated, there was something about you, something
Sophia never gives: There was hope. Hope that brought you to this
small town she comes back to when she’s “finished”
with somebody. Hope I didn’t have the guts to destroy. How
could I do that? How could I tell you she enjoyed watching you
beg when she threatened to leave you? “I think I did a fine
job messing this one up for life”. That’s what she
said about you. But I didn’t dare destroying your faith
in people-in women- by letting you know that. There was so much
light around you, so much life in your words…I didn’t
want to see them disappear. I wanted to prove her wrong. Besides,
I knew there was not a thing anyone could say to make your love
turn into hate. Not then. I could tell by the look in those beautiful
eyes of yours when you talked about her. Your heart was hers.
Your tender, naive, broken heart belonged to Sophia.
Still, as much as I wanted to protect you from it all, sometimes
I wished you knew. I wished you’d seen the look in her eyes
when she came back here with one more “victory” to
brag about. Though I knew at that very moment you would stop being
you. That was too high a price.
Everyday I hoped and prayed for you not to start asking me what
I knew. I should’ve known better. I should’ve known
our biggest fears often become realities. So today, a perfect
Sunday, that’s exactly what you do. “Have you seen
her? Has she talked to you? Has she told you why she left like
that?” Well, then. At this point I can’t lie to you,
so I will tell you a story like others you probably heard before.
Only this time you get to be part of it. Hold on tight. Road is
Sophia was very young. I remember her talking about this “nice”
woman I didn’t know anything about, in a tender, trusting
tone. I think she felt protected and loved. Then everything changed.
She was sometimes happy, some other very sad, always writing her
thoughts, totally oblivious and indifferent. Once I didn’t
hear from her for months. And then one day she came back, she
slammed her bedroom door, and wouldn’t come out for three
days. When I finally decided it was time for that to stop, I opened
her door just to find an empty room, and a note in the mirror.
“Don’t try to find me. I’m dead”. That
scared the hell out of me. Of course I did exactly the opposite
and tried to find her. No luck. So I waited. And prayed (something
I hadn’t done in years). When she came back home, or what
was left of it since she left, I talked to her, took her places,
even paid for therapy. But it was like there was this huge wall
between her and the rest of the world, including me. I couldn’t
save her. I had no choice but watch her become this dark, ruthless
woman. She let her heart die. Not to feel again, I guess. And
so her “adventures” began.
One time she
seemed especially triumphant. I was afraid to ask why, but I didn’t
need to. She told me all about it. That man caught her leaving.
He tried to stop her, but of course couldn’t. You know why.
His number was up. It was time to leave, so she did. The next
day she went back to get her things, and she found out he killed
himself, as he swore to do if she left. You had to see her face
to believe how genuinely proud she was of the fact that he did
it FOR HER. I knew then she was beyond any help I could offer.
I don’t want you to think I find satisfaction telling you
all this. I don’t. I would give anything to make things
different. It hurts, you know? In spite of everything, I love
her. We grew up together, we played and laughed together. We’ve
been more than roommates. There is more than just a friendship
between us… we share the same blood...
I can see in your face you can’t believe it. It is understandable,
really. Sophia and I don’t look alike at all. There is nothing
in me that could remind you of her. We are different in every
way. So different that while she’s already weaving the next
web somewhere, I spend my time dreaming of you since I met you.
It might be wrong, but I can’t help to open my heart to
you, and ask you…Give me forty-six days to make you forget
her. Don’t think about it. Ask yourself what I’ve
been wandering… What if I turned out to be everything you
need? What if my kiss becomes like a high dose in your veins,
like a fire you can’t extinguish? What if I erase everything
she wrote in your book, and your favorite number becomes a reminder
of your happiness, rather than just memories of someone who kisses
like water, loves like water, goes away like water? What if…?
Story's fragment written by Veronica Smith
this Artist's Bio
Digital Drawing by Alexis Figueroa
this Artist's Bio
Like in the
darkness of the light that seeps through your pupils,
Revenge shows up in the most precise moment of fear.
With anguish squirming in the blood vessels
Quickly rushing to the neurons in an attempt to
Destroy the very one that created this nonsense,
this insane form of being.
is merely a lack of light
And with no eyes, one cannot see the truth.
To desire, to lust, to get pleasure from the suffering of others
– that’s life, the one that can be lived in one’s
own world, with oneself, as the world is oblivious to sin ...
What is in
you, only you would recognize.
As long as the smile is intact, the glance is sensual, and the
kiss is still soft;
all will be unaware of the illness within until you are gone.
The brain is sick, but only just as sick as the world that falls
for it, and likes it.
is the soul, who falls in the arms of love,
the evil cycle of desire, sex, pleasure, and betrayal.
A girl dressed in white, professing purity in sight,
Yet, underneath she dresses in black -- black lingerie, black
skin, black eyes, black heart.
attempts to find herself in the woods of hope to be pure again,
she stands with her legs open above a puddle of clear water
only to see the reflection of infectious blisters
screaming from her genitals, welcoming all prospects.
Navigating deeper into this darkness, the wall covered in “snapshots”
of massacre, slaughter, deterioration forming a trail to the end
where evil awaits.
Sperm swimming in the pool of sin …
Fetuses waiting to birth into darkness, crying black tears …
Life in the placenta is nothing but black blood, feeding hate
through the umbilical cord …
the world of falsity – the world of Jade. My name is Jade.
All is nothing but obscurity of the blind world that insists in
living only in daylight, seeing everything nice and pure.
How much longer will humankind believe this? – for the only
thing that exists to the eyes is that which you want to let it
from the dream,
see the real me.
Death is in the corner of the eye; can’t you see?
Perceive the woman beauty no more, as it is now a shadow of a
Alone, I ride train #13 towards self-destruction.
Running over his dream, and his dream, and his dream,
Just as He killed mine… or was it me?
In a desperate
search for myself, I found fantasies to be only a pigment of my
imagination. For so long, I’ve tried to live with the idea
that I meant nothing to you, to him, to her. When I found out
that my boyfriend Michael who I’d dated for 6 years cheated
on me with my twin sister, Sonia, it was heartbreaking; even more
painful when he confessed to have been sexually active with 13
other women throughout those years. And from that moment on, everything
I do is an attempt to erase the memories, heal from the torture
of losing my one and only “love”; The one who took
my innocence, my heart, … my halo and my wings; and made
me a prisoner of a contagious, incurable disease...
by Maria Bravo Carrillo
this Artist's Bio
Photography Art by Indy Deliz
this Artist's Bio
oh, darling. Don’t even mention it…I’ll leave
all the gruesome details out of my article.” The redhead
with the microphone swinging by my side was scheming to get my
theories explaining the perversely decorated body we saw in the
bottom of the ditch. I got rid of her just with a wave of my hand.
I, like my partner Tom, was ready to jump into action and he read
my gestures pretty well. He took her out of the restrained area
smoothly but quickly. He came back with that smart-ass grin on
his face I like so much.
kids at Forensics have established time of death around 12:45
AM. The trail of blood starts in the back alley of the Tango Club
right there in front of us, the locals have known it for a long
time as a meeting place for drug lords. Nobody seems to recognize
the face of the victim: female, early thirties, affluent by the
way she was dressed and the amount of cash found in her purse.
The motif of the murder remains unknown. Strange marks on her
body could be identified as numbers: what seems to be a 13, a
46, a 365, and then some more. Among the objects found close to
her, clean enough to have been recently placed there, we found
a wristband with the number 13, an umbrella, a journal –our
murderer seems to be some sort of an artist, and admirer with
a broken heart, or perhaps some bloody joker with a sick sense
I felt pretty tired. It was hard to work in the 101st NYC precinct
in Queens. “Don’t see any faces around the place that
make me think of our man.” Tom was very good at spotting
the killers that come back to the crime scene, take pleasure of
looking at the commotion it causes, rejoicing of the attention
it gets by the public. “We need to check for similar cases
around the state, only if necessary we will have to give the FBI
a chance to make us look stupid.” It was not going to be
easy to solve this one. No documents that could identify the victim
were found in the purse. We would have to scan for prints and
check the database for both, victim and killer. I took the journal
with me. If it had been left there, it was sure that the killer
wanted us to read it, and maybe the key to decipher the crime
was right there.
night I read the whole text, and was left with a strange sensation.
I knew the woman was already dead, but it was the knowing about
the passion she had inspired. I found myself somehow obsessed
about her. I had a nightmare about her seductive shadow moving
behind the screen in my room, all those numbers floating around.
the Tango Club the next evening. The place looked old and dilapidated.
Heavy smoke made my eyes hurt; I walked across the room, into
the hallway leading to the back door. Somehow I stumbled upon
a painting that covered one of the dull walls. It portrayed a
kiss, and it was its title that called my attention, “Water
Kiss”. I brushed my fingers over the frame. It tilted some
and what slipped from the back was a photograph of a man holding
an umbrella. I continued my way to the owner’s office. My
questioning was useless except that he mentioned that the painting
had mysteriously shown up on the wall the same day of the murder
and he didn’t know who the artist was. I found my way to
the back alley and called Tom to give him an update and no names
for him to run a background check on.
was written all over this case. Whoever wrote this story could
very well be the author of the crime. Do you get it now? The story
itself had been left as the main token by the corpse, as well
as the photograph behind the painting, and the painting itself.
And this is the end of the story, or not?
night like a zombie I followed my steps to her cold chamber at
the morgue. I opened it and bent over to kiss her cold lips. Yes,
Sophia kisses like water.
Story's fragment written by Lucia Vega
this Artist's Bio
Painting by Adriana Julian
this Artist's Bio
Mojave Post Script
Detective Foster was breaking protocol inviting a freelance journalist
to a hot crime scene. “You’ll write about this woman,”
he said. Foster should know. He’s seen it all. Executions.
Decapitated dancers. Crimes of passion. Mark David Chapman.
There she was, in an alley behind a dance club. Her heart stilled,
body cool, dried blood against her skin—raspberry streamers
over creamy milk chocolate. There she was not.
Ritual objects surrounded her as if some Japanese cult had worshipped
her, a black umbrella—the symbol of Japanese aristocracy—and
a Japanese camera, a battered Pentax K-1000.
Her name was Sophia. Greek for Wisdom. But now she was nekros,
dead. Foster looked at me then looked away. “Find her parents
and see that she makes it home. Ok?” My answer came quick.
I had to know more about this woman.
It took Foster three days to determine her surname. Rivera.
It took me a day to find her mother. I phoned her 2,345 miles
away in a rain-shadow desert, Mojave. Hearing a strange woman
weep doesn’t make your day.
Once the forensic team surrendered Sophia’s body, I arranged
for American Airlines to take her home and an odd thing happened.
Sophia spoke to me. “You’re the last man to help me”
and it felt as if she kissed me. I would take her to the desert
and leave her. A ghost lover I didn’t need.
I met her mother, María, in Pioneertown at an abandoned
warehouse where graffiti and obscenities on bone-dry boards competed
with faint Roman numerals. Desert winds had sandblasted the wood
so long the numbers looked ghostly. Maria was as beautiful as
Sophia but wiser, seductive, and best of all alive. Still, I couldn’t
wait to leave this desolate place.
María led me through the desert. “Sophia grew up
in this small movie town perched on the desert’s edge. The
girls hated her but the boys worshiped her. Of course, they only
wanted one thing. Sophia said, ‘La madre, one day I will
leave this arid lowland of lowlifes and live among the clouds.
Near a tortured juniper, María took me into her arms.
“My Sophia was a crystal decanter but the decanter cracked.
It could hold just so much wine. Life did not love her.”
María broke down and cried against my chest a long time.
“Sophia lived in the Monteverde cloud forest in the Tilarán
Mountains.” Maria said, wiping her eyes on my sleeve. “Sophia
said, ‘la madre, to be there is to be drenched.”
Sophia, I learned, spent many nights in Fonda Vela with men amid
her cries and flowers. Orchids, bromeliads, mosses, and ferns
covered the trees there, and Sophia loved them as she did the
men who lived for her kisses.
Sophia told María the moistened ferns smell like crushed
spices, an uplifting fragrance, the scent of life rising from
The cloud forest, said María, gave Sophia a taste for
medicine men. María looked across the desert. “She
took drugs to deal with all the men who loved her. They fought
for her, and she loved her crazed nights in that moist green place
where ferns eject green spores into the mists.”
María said having too many lovers forced Sophia to abandon
her cloud forest but she dealt with that by writing poems about
But now she was dead. As María’s husband had long
been. María lived alone as we all do eventually.
And so María cremated Sophia. Five people, counting me,
set her free beneath a desert sun. The priest was brief and then
María poured Sophia into the air. An updraft caught her
and carried her higher and higher. Sophia soared away far from
water, far from ferns, far from men and then she disappeared into
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. So it is written. That was it.
Sophia was dust. I comforted María and we shared the cool
I left the next morning. My mind swirled with crazy Sophia-María
thoughts and then miles later my rental car radio turned itself
on. “Her kiss of fire ... I feel the heat of your desert
heart ... the heat and the dust increase my desolation.”
It was a song your mind sings and sings. You no longer need a
radio to hear it. Crazy situation.
As I drove past the brittlebush, creosote bushes, and Joshua
trees, twin trails of dust powdered basking iguanas. The song
in my head kept playing, riding with me upon rivers of dust of
my own creation. In the distance, dust devils whirled, and the
rocks changed colors as I streamed through Mojave. It was good
to leave the desert.
Not quite an hour later, I drove past 29 palms and green flecks
began to stick to my windshield and that haunting feeling swept
over me yet again. Dust caked my back window and a familiar voice
sang to me. I feel the heat of your desert heart leading me back
down the road that leads back to you. I turned my life around.
I had but 46 miles to go back to Pioneertown and María.
From time to time, Detective Foster calls. Sophia’s case
remains unsolved and María expects it to remain that way.
Story's ending written by Tom Poland
this Artist's Bio
PhotoStory Project is an initiative of the SC Hispanic Leadership
Photo Story Project
is an initiative of local Latino artist that aims to create a story
told by a series of alternating visual and literary submissions. Our
goal is to bring SC Latino artists together for a common artistic venture
in order to bridge Hispanic artistry with the American culture.
our other initiatives
Escuincles Project (pronounced "skwink les") is a collaborative
effort of local amateur and professional Hispanic artists to foster
an appreciation of the experience, culture, and struggles of Latino
Latin Poetry Contest
the winning poems of the SC Latin Poetry Contest
TRESome is a creative challenge, a unique art experience involving three
Latino artists (each time) coming together for sixty minutes to create
three different perspectives of a common theme